Press Release

Participants of South Asian Workshop call for a resistance to the anti-people policies of the World Bank, IMF, ADB and other IFIs

20 December 2009 by Numan Ahmed Khan , Dr. Mahbub-e-Rashid

The debt campaigners and activists from South Asia including participants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India that have assembled at Dhaka for the “3rd South Asian workshop on International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and the Debt Crisis” have called for region wide resistance movements against anti-people policies of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) . This conference has been jointly organized by SAAPE, VAK and IED and CADTM. Around 100 participants from various organizations across different countries of the region have taken part in this workshop.
This two day workshop from 19-20 December, 2009 also witnessed the presence of leading International Debt Campaigner from Belgium, Dr. Eric Toussaint, President of CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of third world debt).

Presentations from Prof. Anu Mohammad & Dr. M M Akash on the Bangladesh macro-economic situation and the overall economic crisis and Dr. Eric Toussaint on the role of IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.
-World Bank World Bank
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

in the aftermath of the overall global capitalist crisis were the highlights of the first day. The day also witnessed presentations from Monower Mustafa on World Bank led energy sector reforms in Bangladesh and B Skanthakumar on the recent IMF loan to Sri Lanka and the debt scenario in the country.

The second day witnessed from Sushovan Dhar on the World Bank led mining in India leading to loss of lives and livelihoods with a case study on the NALCO aluminium project in Orissa, India. The other presentations on the day was by Masud Ali on impacts of the World Bank led jute sector reforms in Bangladesh and Farooq Tariq on the privatisation process under the military and other governments in Pakistan, the impacts of IMF conditionalities on Pakistan. Dr Eric Toussaint elaborated on the financial crisis resulting from the speculative crisis in the West and its impact on the Third World. The participants also discussed and finalized a future course of actions.

The major themes highlighted in the conference were the attempts by the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to privatize the basic & essential services, to privatise industries endangering the livelihoods of workers connected to it and the imposition of stringent conditionalities for providing aid. The participants observed that the privatization of state owned enterprises under neo-liberal agenda minimizes the state’s sovereignty and welfare role and strengthen the repressive mechanisms which serve the interests of the multinational companies at the cost of the people. The ecological and environmental degradation wrought by IFI funded projects were also dealt in detail.

Various other presentations demystified and condemned the roles of IFIs in increasing the burden of debt, privatizing basic services and thus making it out of control of the working poor, clear violations of Human Rights and environmental concerns, etc. It was observed that all this was done in the name of development and progress.

It was observed with sadness that no governments in South Asia dared to confront the hegemonies of the IFIs in spite of tremendous mass mobilizations and demands from below. In order to strengthen South-South co-operation the assembly gave a call for the “Bank of the South”.

The future course of action decided to take the issue forward in terms of mass awareness campaigns and mobilizations to force the South Asian governments in the various countries of the region to resist the anti-people policies imposed by the IFIs, to say “no” to the conditionalities imposed by the IFIs and also to get the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) out of the region.



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